Jubilee Party Secretary General Raphael Tuju has written to the ruling party officials informing them that the five members of the powerful National Management Committee (NMC) will only serve on interim terms, pending elections.
The names of the five officials, whose list was published on Saturday, have caused bitter wrangles within the President Uhuru Kenyatta’s party, with Deputy President William Ruto and his allies deeply opposed to the move.
On March 23, Mr Tuju notified the Registrar of Political Parties (RPP) Ann Nderitu about the changes the party had made to NMC to replace members who had resigned.
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Under Article 7.1 of the party’s constitution, the duties and responsibilities of the NMC include acting on behalf of the National Executive Council (NEC) on urgent matters where in their opinion NEC cannot be sufficiently convened to undertake such urgent decisions.
The changes, according to Tuju, in a 21-point letter to party honchos, were necessary to prepare for the party elections and ensure Jubilee is compliant with the provisions of Section 26(1)(a) of the Political Parties Act, including the requirements for regional balancing and gender affirmative action.
Tuju said in accordance with the provisions of Section 20 of the Political Parties Act, the RPP published a gazette notice of the proposed changes on April 6.
Tuju has proposed to replace Fatuma Shukri, Pamela Mutua and Veronica Maina. He has listed Lucy Nyawira Macharia, Prof Marete Marangu, Walter Nyambati, Jane Nampaso and James Waweru to be members of NMC.
Immediately after the RPP notice, Ruto led his allies in filing a series of protest letters to Ms Nderitu.
Now Tuju, in the letter to members, has explained events that let to the picking of the NMC in the absence of NEC meeting.
In building his case, Tuju said on January 28, 2020, he convened a staff meeting at which he informed them to start preparations for party elections considering the guidance by the RPP.
However, on February 3, 2020, he wrote to the RPP requesting to push the tentative election period from mid-March as earlier planned to enable the party make adequate preparations.
He said that a meeting of the party’s NMC was therefore called on February 10, 2020, to reschedule planning for the elections, including the issues raised by the RPP in her letter dated January 16, 2012.
But even as things progressed, Tuju argued that on February 12, 2020, he was involved in a serious accident at Kijabe while on his way to attend President Daniel arap Moi’s funeral and was subsequently airlifted to the UK for further treatment.
“The Covid-19 pandemic, starting in early March 2020, which has led to numerous directives by government that render meetings of party organs (even assuming they were in place) impossible for the foreseeable future,” he said.
The secretary general argued the party was in no position to hold elections to fill NMC positions after the disputed presidential elections in 2017.
He said the NEC meetings must be preceded by NMC meetings to set the agenda. Further, preparation for elections would require action by the NMC which has responsibility for overseeing party affairs and the secretariat on behalf of NEC.